Chicken strips

This one is inspired by the chicken strips that we had from the Ikea food court on our last visit, and it was so good we went back twice for a refill. Thats when I made a mental note to make my version of it, coz the recipe is no rocket science, just strips of chicken breast coated in a breading mixture and deep fried to golden brown goodness. Thats the beauty of this recipe, simplicity! I decided to replace bread crumbs with cheese balls just to add a twist to the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast cut into thin strips.
  • Cheese balls
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Oil to deep fry

Method:

  1. Marinate the chicken strips with salt and pepper and leave on for a few minutes.
  2. Crush the cheese balls and nicely coat the chicken strips in it.
  3. Deep fry the strips on medium high until the chicken is nice and done.

Notes:

  1. I used cheese balls in this recipe to coat the strips, you can be as innovative as you can get and make your own breading mixture, flavored bread crumbs, Doritos, cheese crackers or whatever. If you are using bread crumbs, do not forget to dip it in egg before coating.
  2. Do not make the strips too thick as the chicken might not get cooked properly on the inside. Also do not make the oil too hot as it would result in the outside burning and the inside not getting cooked.
  3. You can slice up your chicken really small and follow the exact same recipe for chicken popcorns!!
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One pot creamy chicken and spinach pasta

The advantage of one pot recipes is not just that they are incredibly easy to make but its also that you can vary the ingredients and their quantity and tailor make it to suit your taste buds. This recipe is made creamy and ‘chickeny’ to the right amounts such that the chicken completely masks out the spinach flavor ensuring that you get the goodness of the spinach without having to taste it ūüėČ It is also a treat to your eyes to watch all the ingredients blend together to form a rich and creamy delicacy.

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Ingredients:

  • Pasta of your choice
  • One or two slices of cheese of your choice
  • Cooked chicken pieces and chicken stock
  • Spinach
  • milk
  • One small onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • pepper, oregano, salt for seasoning

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add finely sliced garlic and onions and sauté until soft and translucent.
  3. Add finely chopped spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the shredded chicken and mix well. Also add the seasoning.
  5. Pour some chicken stock and milk and add the pasta and simmer well for 15-20 minutes until the pasta is cooked well.
  6.  Add one or two slices of any cheese of your choice and watch it melt into the sauce.
  7. Check for seasoning and switch off when the sauce thickens.

 

Notes:

  • You can use the stock from cooking the chicken to make the gravy. If you dont have stock use water, but trust me, nothing like stock!
  • I accidentally added some fennel seeds powder into it coz oregano and this were in similar containers but I loved the smell and flavor it gave.¬†

Tuna Cutlets

These cutlets are nice and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. As I’m not a great fan of fish, Ive added enough potatoes to the cutlet mix and the bread crumbs coating it has been flavored with oregano to keep the tuna flavors subtle. Dip in ketchup and bite into this crunchy juicy goodness and say goodbye to all your winter woes!

IMG_20180129_172735158.jpgIngredients:

  • Canned tuna (1 can makes about 8-10 medium sized cutlets)
  • Mustard sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 big potato boiled and mashed
  • Oregano to flavor (optional)
  • Eggs and breadcrumbs to coat the cutlets
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Drain the tuna of all the oil/water.
  2. Add mustard sauce, mashed potatoes, salt and pepper and mix really well. you should be able to make balls out of the mixture. If the mixture is too runny, add some breadcrumbs to it.
  3. ¬† Shape the cutlets, dip in egg and breadcrumbs mixed with oregano and shallow fry until nice and golden. I maintained the flame at a medium high so that it doesn’t brown so fast and cooks the cutlets really well.
  4. Serve with ketchup .

Notes:

  1. I mixed the breadcrumbs with oregano as I like to keep the ‘fishy’ flavor subtle. This is totally optional.¬†
  2. You can omit potatoes and add breadcrumbs into the mixture itself and shallow fry it without actually coating it in breadcrumbs to get nice tuna patties for your burgers. 

 

Cheese stuffed chicken nuggets

This one tops the list of my most favorite winter snacks. Just dip in mayo and bite into a piece of succulent juicy chicken breast and the melted cheese simply oozes into your mouth. This recipe was inspired from ‘Tasty’ and improvised to suit my taste.¬†B612_20180121_070311.jpg

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Cheese slice of your choice
  • salt and pepper
  • soy sauce (optional)
  • Bread crumbs/ crushed cheese balls
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Oil to deep fry.

Method:

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and few drops of soy sauce if you like the flavor.
  2. Make a small slit on the middle of each piece and stuff in a small piece of cheese.
  3. Coat the pieces in flour, dip in beaten egg and coat again with either bread crumbs or crushed cheese balls.
  4. Deep fry in hot oil until the cheese melts and the chicken turns golden brown and well cooked.
  5. Serve with mayo or tomato ketchup.

Notes:

  • You can use any cheese of your choice. A burger cheddar cheese slice was what I liked best and the color of the oozing cheese was also very appetizing!
  • Make sure to not make the chicken pieces too thick or it might not get properly cooked on the inside.¬†
  • Stuff in enough amounts of cheese obviously ūüėČ
  • Always maintain a medium high heat and do not overheat the oil as this would cause the chicken pieces to burn on the outside and not get properly cooked on the inside.¬†
  • Even though bread crumbs is easier job, this tastes much better with cheese balls. So if you happen to have a packet lying there, use it.

 

Sweet Vermicelli Upma

The Vermicelli Upma is one of the easiest dish that you can put together. The ingredients are readily available in an average kitchen and the cooking time is less than 15mins. It tastes amazing, obviously, something thats roasted in ghee, cooked in milk, flavored with saffron and served with roasted dry fruits can only be heavenly!!! A good start to the day as an easy weekend breakfast or as a refreshing tea time snack.  IMG-20180119-WA0034.jpg

Ingredients:

  • Vermicelli¬† (semiya)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar
  • Dry fruits
  • a pinch of saffron soaked in milk (optional)
  • Ghee 2-3 teaspoons

Method:

  1. Dry roast the vermicelli on a medium high flame until brown and aromatic stirring continuously to avoid burning. Avoid this step if your vermicelli is already roasted.
  2. Heat 2-3 teaspoons of ghee in a pan. Roast dry fruits of your choice and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan add the roasted vermicelli and sugar and stir for a minute. Add a cup of milk and keep stirring for a few minutes. Add more milk if the vermicelli gets too dry. Also add the saffron or any other flavoring of your choice.
  4. Turn off the flame when the vermicelli gets semi tender and cooked. Serve with the roasted dry fruits.

Notes:

  1. The vermicelli should be cooked only to the level that its semi tender. The Upma would taste great only if the vermicelli retains its crunchiness. 
  2. I mixed the dry fruits during cooking coz I like to find it in between my upma while eating, but you can reserve it for garnishing or do as you please. 

 

Pasta Bolognese

Super rich and meaty, bolognese sauce, also called rag√Ļ, is a classic Italian sauce served with lasagne or pasta. Its loaded with vegetables like carrots, celery and onions, with tons and tons of meat. Gently simmered for hours to produce a thick and super rich sauce with the tanginess of the best of tomatoes. This recipe is extremely meaty and is slow cooked in a chicken broth to a heavenly perfection.

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Ingredients

  • Pasta of your choice.
  • Beef minced: As much as you like!
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 red and juicy diced tomatoes
  • Chicken broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Olive oil 3-4 tablespoons
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Prepare pasta as you would normally.

To prepare the sauce:

  1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté till it turns little brown and aromatic.
  3. Add the onions, sauté till translucent.
  4. Add the grated carrots.
  5. Add in the minced beef and cook until the meat starts to click and change color
  6. Add the diced tomatoes and the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until nice and combined.
  7. Add some freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
  8. Pour the chicken broth and bring to boil. Add cilantro.
  9. Gently simmer for 2-2.5 hours stirring occasionally.
  10. Turn off the heat when the sauce gets thick and all the fat and oil is separated.

Mix the pasta and the sauce. Nicely coat the pasta with sauce.

Notes:

  1. You can add celery or other veggies. I’m not a big fan of veggies hence used just carrots.
  2. You can use canned tomatoes, but I’ve used fresh ones. Just make sure to pick nice and red ones coz the flavor of tomatoes is predominant in the sauce hence its important to use really nice ones.
  3. Spaghetti goes really well with this sauce but I used fusilli because thats what I had in my kitchen.
  4. You can use water instead of Chicken broth but I would strongly recommend the broth coz wellll……
  5. Keep stirring every now and then. Also do check for seasoning.
  6. Some serve the pasta and the sauce separately but I like to mix it and i do it on stovetop coz thats the way I like it. With lots of sauce and less pasta. 

 

Creamy Mac and Cheese with chicken fillings

 

Creamy, chewy and loaded with cheese, a perfectly delicious meal for the sinful foodie in you. The sauce is rich and creamy and deliciously flavorful,thanks to the chicken broth that it is cooked in, with chewy pasta and a perfectly crunchy chicken filling and bucket loads of cheese that melts in your mouth. The dish is guaranteed to fill you up and is extremely satisfying from the very first bite.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 packet pasta
  • Milk – 1/2cup
  • flour – 3 teaspoons
  • Chicken broth – 1/2 cup
  • oregano seasoning
  • Crushed pepper
  • crushed garlic
  • 1 Onion roughly chopped
  • capsicum – 1
  • Shredded chicken – 1 cup
  • chilly sauce – 2 teaspoons
  • ginger garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
  • 1 egg
  • grated mozzarella cheese
  • oil
  • salt

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta as per instructions on the pack. Before draining make sure its nicely cooked.

Chicken filling:

  1. Cook the chicken with little salt and pepper. Shred the chicken pieces. Leave the broth aside for the sauce.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Add onions, ginger garlic paste and saute until onions turn nice and brown. 
  4. Add the capsicum and continue to cook.
  5. Add chilly sauce, pepper powder, salt and oregano seasoning.
  6. Add the shredded chicken
  7. Add an egg and scramble everything well. 
  8. turn off the flame and set aside.

Sauce:

  1. Heat some oil in a pan(you can also use butter).
  2. Add the flour to it and mix really well. 
  3. Add milk and stir continuously to avoid any lumps
  4. Add the chicken broth. keep stirring.
  5. Add oregano seasoning, pepper and crushed garlic.
  6. Turn off when sauce begins to thicken.

Assembling:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add layers of cooked pasta, chicken fillings and white sauce.
  2. Add generous amount of grated cheese on top.
  3. Microwave on high for 5 mins.
  4. Serve hot.

Notes:

  • Make sure the flame is on low while preparing the sauce or else it will burn or form lumps.
  • You can add any vegetable or meat of your choice in the filling.
  • The quantities of seasoning is not mentioned as it would be better to choose according to ones taste.
  • Add a drop of oil and little bit of salt to the pasta while cooking it. After draining the hot water, wash the cooked pasta well in cold water.¬†
  • ¬†This can also be baked or made on a stove top.¬†

 

Chicken Enchiladas

Deliciously creamy Mexican delight. An overloaded meal with pretty much everything that makes you feel good and satisfied from within. The sauce is¬†mild yet flavorful, the tortillas perfectly soaked and loaded with chicken cooked with caramelized onions and to top it all, there’s deliciously creamy cheese that literally ¬†strings in your mouth. A perfect ¬†‘oh so heavenly’ meal for the sinful foodies!!

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Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • Dried red chillies – 4 or 5
  • Chicken stock¬†– a cup
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • salt
  • red chilly powder – 3 teaspoons
  • green chilly sauce – 1 teaspoon
  • cumin – 2 teaspoons
  • oregano seasoning – 2 teaspoons
  • garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
  • Flour – 2-3 teaspoons

For the filling:

  • Shredded chicken – 1 cup
  • Onions chopped – 2
  • pepper powder – 2-3 teaspoons
  • cheese cubes -1
  • Olive oil

For the tortillas:

  • Flour – 1 cup
  • Corn flour – 1 cup

Method:

Enchilada sauce:

  1. Remove the seeds of the red chilies and roast them on a hot pan until it starts giving a nice smell.
  2. Blend together the roasted chilies, tomatoes and chicken stock. (You can use the stock from cooking the chicken pieces for the filling)
  3. Bring the blended sauce to a boil.
  4. Add the green chilly sauce, cumin, oregano, garlic paste and stir continuously
  5. Add the flour to thicken the sauce. keep stirring.
  6. Once the sauce starts to get thick, check for seasoning and turn off flame. It should be of pouring consistency.

Tortillas:

  1. Knead the flour and corn flour into a nice dough and roll out circles.
  2. Fry them on both sides until color changes slightly.

Filling:

  1. Add olive oil into a pan and saute the onions really well until they begin to caramelize.
  2. Toss in the shredded chicken and fry well.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cheese cube and continue to saute well.
  5. Turn off when the cheese has melted well.

Assembling the enchiladas:

  1. Oil the tortillas slightly with olive oil.
  2. On a baking dish, pour the enchilada sauce until the bottom is completely covered in sauce.
  3. Spread the sauce on the oiled tortilla and add a generous amount of filling. Roll the tortilla and place it on the dish.
  4. Repeat this with the remaining tortillas and place the side by side on the dish.
  5. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas covering them completely in sauce.
  6. Top with generous amounts of grated cheese.
  7. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. You can also bake at 350 for 12-15mins.

Notes:

  1. This recipe uses homemade enchilada sauce and tortillas, store bought works just as fine.
  2. You can adjust the spice level according to your taste. You may have to check for seasoning  and adjust quantities accordingly.
  3. Be careful about the amount of salt you add, as there’s salt in everything.
  4. You can use the cheese of your choice. 

 

Hyderabadi Mutton Haleem

Hyderabad is a land that is very closely entwined with its food. ¬†What makes a Hyderabadi top the list of foodies is not just their passion for food, but also their dedication and effort that goes into the preparation of food, be it¬†the selection of the finest of the finest raw materials¬†or the¬†utmost care they take while cooking or even¬†the wholehearted way in which the food is served. The Hyderabadi cuisine is extremely popular in India with the Hyderabadi biriyani usually taking up most of its credit, this cuisine is not just about biriyanis. Another popular item on this meat-intensive cuisine is the ‘shahi haleem’. Available exclusively during the holy month of¬†Ramzan or other important events like weddings, Haleem is an absolutely royal treat. It is a ¬†kind of stew prepared by slow cooking wheat,rice and lentils along with mutton pieces and served with fried onions, lime and ghee. The slow cooking ensures that all the juices of the mutton is incorporated into the dish giving it a very rich flavor. The most aromatic and flavorful spices are handpicked into the preparation of the haleem and is cooked until it gets a nice and creamy consistency. The taste is so intense that if you taste it once, you will remember it forever.

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Ingredients:

  • Mutton pieces with bones – 1kg
  • Broken wheat – 1 cup soaked for few hours
  • Lentils (Mong dal, urad dal, toor dal etc) – a handful each, soaked for few hours
  • Basmati rice – a handful, soaked for few hours
  • Whole spices – Cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, khas, aniseed, star aniseed, cloves etc – 2 or 3 of each
  • Freshly powdered garam masala – 2-3 teaspoons
  • green chilly paste – 2 teaspoons
  • ginger garlic paste – 2 teaspoon
  • green chilies – 3-4 slit
  • Onions – 1 roughly chopped, 2 – fried.
  • Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup
  • Mint leaves – 1/2 cup
  • red chilly powder – 3 teaspoons
  • turmeric powder – 2 teaspoons
  • beaten yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • ghee
  • oil
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat oil and add all the whole spices and roast.
  2. Add half of the sliced onions and the slit green chilies.
  3. Add the mutton pieces and saute well for few mins.
  4. Add water enough to cover the mutton, sufficient salt and pressure cook on high flame for one whistle and then on low for an hour.
  5. In another pressure cooker add the broken wheat, lentils and rice.
  6. Add about three times water as the quantity of the dals, sufficient salt and close and pressure cook on high flame for one whistle and then on low flame for 45 minutes.
  7. Once the meat and lentils are cooked, open the pressure cooker and mash thoroughly.
  8. Remove the bones from the mutton and blend the mutton and the lentils into a pasty texture.
  9. Heat a pan and add some ghee, you can also add oil instead of ghee.
  10. Add onions and saute well.
  11. Add ginger garlic paste and green chilly paste and saute until raw smell goes.
  12. Add the coriander leaves and mint leaves.
  13. Add Chilly powder, turmeric powder and fresh garam masala powder and stir well.
  14. Add some beaten curd and mix.
  15. add the ground mutton and lentil paste and mix thoroughly.
  16. Check for seasoning and add salt or garam masala if necessary.
  17. Add a little bit of the mutton stock obtained from cooking the mutton, little ghee and cook on medium flame constantly stirring.
  18. Turn off the flame when you get a thick and creamy paste like consistency.
  19. Garnish with fried onions, lemon wedge and pour some ghee on top.

Notes:

  1. Instead of grinding the mutton and lentils into a paste, you can just cook and mash them until they are pasty.  However too much cooking causes the juices to evaporate so the flavor wont be as intense.
  2. you can cook mutton and lentils in the same pressure cooker but the cooking time of both are different, so the consistency may not be so perfect. 
  3. you can use normal vessel instead of pressure cooker but it will take longer time to cook. 
  4. you can use chicken or beef instead of mutton in this recipe, but trust me, nothing like mutton !! 

 

Chicken spring Rolls

A very popular  Indo Chinese snack, spring rolls are a kind of fill and roll appetizers said to be originally a popular street food in China and other South East Asian countries. These rolls are crispy on the outside and nice and crunchy on the inside. The filling has a strong taste of soy bean sauce which gives it the traditional Indo Chinese flavor. The rolls are loaded with generous amounts of chicken and a lot of rich veggies so the snack in itself is tummy filling. The ingredients are easily available and a perfect make for a rainy day tea time snack.IMG_20160611_174949869

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast pieces – 2 or 3
  • Cabbage – a cup thinly sliced
  • Carrot – a cup thinly sliced
  • Onions – a cup
  • Capsicum – a cup thinly sliced
  • Ginger garlic paste- 2 teaspoons
  • Soy bean sauce- 2 teaspoons
  • pepper powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • salt to taste
  • Oil to deep fry
  • All purpose flour – 2 cups/Spring roll leaves

Method:

For the Spring roll leaf:

  1. Knead a dough by adding hot water and salt to the all purpose flour. Knead until smooth. Keep aside for few minutes
  2. Roll out Small roti sized circles fry both sides on a pan until slightly changes colour.
  3. Do not over cook.
  4. Cover the rolled leaves and set aside.

For the filling:

  1. Cook the chicken breasts adding a bit of salt and pepper
  2. Shred the chicken pieces and set aside
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the onions and saute
  4. Add the ginger garlic paste.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and fry for a minute
  6. Toss in all the vegetables one by one and fry on high flame
  7. Add some soy bean sauce and stir well.
  8. Add a spoonful of chicken stock obtained while cooking the breasts and cover and cook on medium flame for about 4-5 mins. Do not over cook as we need the crunchiness of the veggies to be retained.
  9. Add pepper powder and stir well and turn off the flame.
  10. Once the filling cools down, take a generous amount of filling and place it in one corner of the leaf and roll well.
  11. Make a paste out of flour and water and use it to seal the sides of the spring rolls.
  12. Deep fry until golden brown.

Notes:

  1. You can add any vegetables of your choice while making the filling. You can even add boiled noodles and it will taste great.